IASC 25 years - Page 11

Odd Rogne, Fred Roots and Magnus Magnusson (left to right) at a meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, 1992. Photo provided by Odd Rogne some holes in the armor that allowed for scientific from Arctic nations with the idea of exploring Arc- contact, and a certain number of projects continued. tic scientific cooperation. Odd Rogne was given the During the 80s, some changes were noticed in the task of organizing this meeting because he head- USSR. Discussions began on bilateral scientific co- ed the Norwegian delegation discussing Norwe- operation in the Arctic between Canada and the gian-Soviet scientific cooperation in the North. The USSR, and shortly thereafter between Norway and Soviet counterpart was the State Committee on the USSR. President Gorbatchev introduced such Science and Technology (GKNT), an inter-ministerial Russian terms as glasnost and perestroika, which body close to the top of Soviet administration. prompted the world to watch for any further changes in the USSR. What was meant by ‘Arctic nations’ was not clear, and needed clarification before the meeting would The other superpower (USA) was watching even be called. The term used at that time was ‘Arctic more intensively. In 1985, the President of the USA rim nations,’ which included three large countries established the US Arctic Research Commission, (Canada, the USA and the USSR) and two smaller and appointed James H. Zumberge as its first Chair- countries (Denmark and Norway). After informal man. Zumberge was also President of the Universi- consultations (starting with the Arctic rim nations), ty of California at Los Angeles and President of the it was decided that “countries with territories north Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). of the Arctic Circle” would be used as the definition of an Arctic country. As a consequence, Finland and Zumberge was in a good position to explore current Sweden were added to the list of invitees. Later, it and possible future cooperation in Arctic research, was brought forth that a small area of Iceland lay and he did so by inviting representatives from coun- north of the Arctic Circle, and so by adding these tries undertaking Arctic research to an informal three there was a final list of eight Arctic countries. meeting during the XIX SCAR meeting in San Di- The process for deciding on the definition was to ego, USA in June 1986. Odd Rogne (Director of the ask all Arctic rim nations their opinion. As there were Norwegian Polar Institute) and Fred Roots (Environ- no objections, representatives of all Arctic countries ment Canada) served as advisors for this meeting. were invited to the Oslo meeting. This definition was later adopted by the Arctic Environmental Pro- The main outcome of the San Diego lunch meeting tection Strategy (AEPS) and ultimately by its suc- was an agreement to continue to explore the pos- cessor, the Arctic Council (AC) sibility of creating an international Arctic science committee.2 However, as the USSR had as its policy to cooperate bilaterally with Arctic rim nations, it Arctic countries would be represented at the meet- was agreed that another meeting would be orga- ing, and particularly the USSR with its ‘bilateral only’ nized in some months’ time with representatives 10 00 The biggest challenge was to ensure that all the policy. At that time, President Gorbatchev had ini- 01 Development 06 Appendices of IASC